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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Once in a while it can be interesting to hear a review given by an outsider on something they have not had any first-hand experience with before. A lot of times it can make you look at whatever it may be (in this case, Cummins Ram trucks) in a different light and if you're one of those folks, then you may just enjoy this write-up.

To give you a little brief background before I get started into the review, I am currently looking at getting into diesel truck sometime this next winter-spring and in the interim have been researching, researching and more researching. It has finally come to the point now where I've decided it's time to test drive some different trucks to narrow things down and really see what I like.

Seeing as that I'm in the market, I have a pretty good general idea of what's currently available around my area in terms of choices, however, most are a good hours worth of driving away. I did notice recently that there was a higher mileage (well, that's a bit of an understatement....), '09 at a dealership no more than 5 minutes away from me. This particular truck was not going to be a particular candidate of mine to choose from but I figured that it's always good to compare and would be interesting to see how one with this amount of miles was holding up so I dropped by on my home from work to check it out.

Of course what you're really wanting to hear is what it felt like to drive and we'll get to that in shortly, I promise, but first lets get the body and interior conditions out of the way first. Overall the body was in great shape, you wouldn't guess it had the mileage that it had. Scratches and dents were minimal. The interior was nearly the same but the driver seat had pretty considerable wear on the left side, enough so to guess that it had over 200k at least. Surprisingly, the steering wheel itself didn't feel that worn but it did however have quite a bit of play, I'm talking around 1.5" or so. The interior knobs, window controls etc felt like they had 100k-200k on them and not that yucky "smoothed out feeling" a lot of higher mileage vehicles can get.

They gave me the keys to start it which was nice and the engine was completely cold. Temp was around ~45 degrees F. After cycling the grid heater, it fired right up immediately with zero hick ups, second thoughts or strange noises. You'd have guessed it was a brand new truck basing it solely off the engine. To give you some more background, this particular truck was a 6spd, an option I wouldn't live without in a Cummins. I was really anxious to see what driving a manual diesel truck would feel like compared to my gasser truck manual truck.

When it means low it means it!

As I had expected, letting the clutch out on a level surface required little to no inputs of the throttle to begin moving unlike you would in a gasser. You could just feel that torque with your left leg as you let it out. I felt like an idiot a little bit driving through the parking lot in "L" as it is more like a low tractor gear than anything else. Heck I was making boost in the parking lot just by creeping along and compared to my truck, this would have been 4low for it. After seeing how this was, I pulled out of the dealership in second gear which felt like 1st gear in my manual gas truck. This '09 seemed to be pretty much all stock from what I could tell aside from a 4" exhaust and possibly a tuner/chip. The first thing that I noticed was that the manual transmission was far, far from anything like the one found in my truck. The feeling of the clutch and stick, especially, made the whole experience feel like you were driving a semi truck and is definitely not for the faint heart. It required muscle, but I liked every bit of it, added to the experience and wouldn't have a Cummins any other way. I did notice there was a faint wine coming from the transmission but it may just be a normal thing for a big manual truck transmission like this. Attempting to shift it quickly like a sports car is a big no-no and does not feel at home at all for that type of activity.

Remember that sloppy steering? This was unfortunately felt quite a bit and was a little disappointing but I felt that I couldn't fault it too much there seeing the mileage that it had after all. The most amazing aspect was the engine. It seemed to run absolutely perfect, very smooth and just overall seemed like it was almost new, dare I say. Performance wise I felt that it didn't have a whole 'lot of punch under 2k rpm's until after that point you could feel it come into boost and would put you back in your seat a little bit. It was amazing going through each of the gears and feeling like the truck never had an ending amount of power supply, a trait that is not easily found in a normal gas vehicle. It seemed to have no problem breaking the tires loose on hard acceleration in third gear on a dry road- not that I was trying too or anything. One thing that I didn't like so well, and I would be interested to hear if anyone else notices this, was the pretty significant delay in throttle/pedal movement until it would actually respond to the engine. In an auto truck you might not notice this so much but if you're rev matching in a manual, this is very noticeable and not convenient. I felt like you almost had to press the pedal down near 1/4 of its travel until it would begin to actually respond.

The interior was really quite and actually found myself rolling the windows down during the test drive to hear the sound of the engine and exhaust. Something about the sound a turbo decelerating on a manual Cummins is one of the greatest gifts. Pulling back into the parking lot I noticed it was blowing a fair amount blue smoke and didn't know what that was all about. If I had been serious about this truck this would have led to some concerns but could have been due to a bad tune.

Overall I was pretty impressed. One of the biggest intentions for me to look at this particular truck was to see how the overall truck itself felt with that many miles. Aside from the loose steering which I feel could be fixed, it actually felt and looked like it had half the miles. Mechanical wise? You'd have guessed the new engine was new by the way it ran aside other than the observation at the very end.

Needless to say, it has sure made the admiration go up to own a Cummins!

Thanks for reading, maybe this will make you appreciate your truck even more. :)

· Registered
174 Posts
Cool read, I ran an 07 to 393,000 miles

Front end was replaced (upper & lower ball joints, tie rods etc at about 275) and it made quite a difference. You don't really notice it driving all the time.

Chances are this truck was used for some type of Hotshotting

When looking at one of these trucks, the front bearings can be an issue, but a simple check can be done by jacking up each wheel and giving a good tug on it with the tire on and feel for any play up and down.
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